You already know that earning a college degree in accounting is an essential step to achieving your goal of becoming an accountant. What you might not be aware of is the role of an accounting instructor in your education. These professionals have an impressive combination of education and experience as well as a drive to give back to the profession. Exceptional accounting professors do more than just lecture in a classroom – they inspire and mentor students to help them become the best accountants they can be.
What Accounting Instructors Do
One aspect of an accounting professor’s job is obvious: they teach courses. They may teach a range of classes, from introductory to advanced levels and from general courses to specialized topics. They might teach in a lecture hall of hundreds of students or in a small classroom setting, or they may even work with students one-on-one on independent study projects.
However important the work of teaching is, accounting instructors do more than hang out in the classroom. They mentor students, helping them to develop their strengths, find internship opportunities and plan their academic path. Often, instructors of undergraduate accounting students are asked to write letters of recommendation to help these students gain acceptance into master’s degree programs.
Research is another important part of the accounting instructor’s job duties, especially in university settings. That’s one reason why universities typically require full-time accounting professors to hold a Ph.D., a research degree. Accounting instructors not only conduct their own research, but they also review the research of their peers for publication. Within the department and the school, accounting professors also work with committee to develop curriculum, set standards and modify policies.
Characteristics of a Good Accounting Instructor
In addition to holding an advanced accounting degree, having real-world experience in auditing and tax preparation is a valuable qualification for an accounting instructor, according to the Accounting Doctoral Scholars Program. Not only do these professors understand the real-world applications of the principles they teach, but they also understand the challenges that new accountants face. In addition to their degrees and their years of experience, accounting instructors should have other intangible but important qualities. They should have a strong motivation to give back to their field by training new generations of accounting professionals, and they should be able to inspire students to work to their full potential. Good accounting instructors understand that the field of accounting is constantly evolving, and they commit to lifelong learning by attending accounting conferences, reading trade journals and taking advantage of continuing education opportunities.
With a shortage of accounting instructors in the United States, professionals that have the right education and experience and choose this career path stand to earn a substantial salary, often significantly more than instructors of subjects that are less in-demand. However, excellent accounting professors take this path not for the money, but for the opportunity to teach aspiring accountants and help them achieve excellence in the field of accounting.